U.S. Reports First Tamiflu-resistant A/H1N1 Flu Virus
    2009-07-08 11:28:20     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Xu
 

A San Francisco girl has alarmed U.S. health officials and experts since she was diagnosed with a Tamiflu - resistant strain, according to local TV reports on Tuesday.

An official from the California state public health department told CBS-5 that the 16-year-old girl developed flu-like symptoms prior to traveling to Hong Kong last month. Upon arrival she was detected a fever and isolated at a Hong Kong hospital as a precaution. Subsequent testing revealed that the teenager had a Tamiflu - resistant strain of A/H1N1.

She's just the third person in the world known to have a strain resistant to Tamiflu, the main weapon against the A/H1N1 flu.

Unlike two previous, unrelated patients with Tamiflu-resistant A/H1N1 flu -- one in Denmark, the other in Japan -- the San Francisco girl had never been treated with Tamiflu.

"This strongly suggests transmission of Tamiflu-resistant virus to her," said Tim Uyeki, an expert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanda. "How that actually happened, there is no way to know."

Though the girl has since recovered, the California health department has been searching the West Coast for others who might be carrying the drug-resistant virus. So far, no other Tamiflu-resistant A/H1N1 flu bugs have been detected in California or in Hong Kong.

"We do need to really monitor for the potential of a Tamiflu-resistant novel H1N1 strain to spread," Uyeki says. "If it does, this would be quite a concern because we have limited choices of antiviral medications."

The state and federal health officials and experts are stepping up testing of more cases of A/H1N1 flu virus for Tamiflu - resistance around the country.

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